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Trump skipped the WHCD, and Samantha Bee and Hasan Minhaj roasted him anyway

Bonus clip: Will Ferrell and George Bush have some tie advice.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Donald Trump may have given us the best White House Correspondents’ Dinner — but that was back in 2011, when Trump showed up and sat stone-faced as Barack Obama and Seth Meyers skewered him.

Last night, Trump was a no-show at the WHCD, supposedly because he wanted to show Americans that he’s uninterested in the press, celebrity culture and their intersection.

Just going to let that one sink in for a second.

Okay. So, last night’s WHCD continued on without the president of the United States, and without much of the celebrity wattage that has powered the thing in the past. Instead, it was a more earnest affair, featuring a speech from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

The jokes were more serious, too. Here’s the closing bit of the monologue from the Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj. “Only in America can a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president.”

Meanwhile, if you wanted a more traditional version of the WHCD president-roasting, you could get that too, courtesy of Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner.” This one ran on TBS and then again on Twitter, and now you can see the entire thing, broken up into helpful chunks, on YouTube.

Here’s my favorite clip, a bit of counterfactual history, a la “The Man in the High Castle”:

And a bonus bit — Will Ferrell as George W. Bush, and a reminder that what used to seem outrageous now feels awfully benign:

This article originally appeared on

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